Ways to meditation
When we think of mental training such as meditation how do we treat the body? To either neglect or indulge the body are extremes which are not conducive, so how to find the balance? The rider and horse analogy gives us a place to start.
In the horse rider analogy, the horse represents the body and the rider the mind. Sometimes we can go directly to working with the rider and practices such as formal meditation take this approach – the body is fixed into a position and the work happens in the mental domain.
The other approach is to work on controlling the rider by way of controlling the horse. An example of this is to use physical yoga and movement practices to gain a degree of freedom in the body and by this way we control the turbulence in the mind. I’ve spoken to many people who require the mindful movements in a yoga practice, or the rhythmic pace of swimming to drop into the meditative zone.
Note that the horse is always with the rider – in a formal meditation practice we don’t neglect the body – it needs to be free of gross discomfort – and similarly in a movement practice we don’t neglect the mind – check that we are balanced in the conative, attentional, cognitive and emotional spaces.